Although the trend is nothing new stateside, the French have been a little slow to hop on the artisan & craft beer bandwagon. This could be all set to change, however, with a new opening in Montmartre that has serious beer drinkers rejoicing. -Geneviève
Paris, a city known for being the wine-imbibing capital of the world, has another vice that’s been garnering more attention as of late.
Beer has always been an important staple in the cafés and brasseries of Paris, a demi-pression being a popular and affordable choice as an aperitif, or to sip indulgently throughout an evening with friends en terrasse.
As of late, however, it seems that many Parisians have been craving more of an artisanal touch than their trusty 1664 or Kronenbourg can provide.
At Peoples Drug Store, owner Guillaume Lucas has transformed a Montmartre corner storefront into an understated haven for Parisian beer-drinkers looking to delve beyond basic supermarket staples. The selection of over 500 beers sourced from around the world (although notably dominated by the Belgian sort) is casually put on display with no sign of hierarchy.
Guillaume is not exactly quick to make a recommendation of what beer he thinks you should try; rather, he encourages you to sit at the rustic, wooden table to play a game of chess and unwind for a bit. But once he eventually comes around to talking shop, he proves his enthusiasm and love for beer to be undeniable, and perhaps even unconditional.
While none of the bottles in the shop are au frais, all they need are a few minutes inside one of Guillaume’s prized bottle-chilling machines, and you have a perfect bouteille fraîche to quench your thirst after a climb up la butte Montmartre. Pricing is shockingly fixed at €3 for 25-50cl bottles and €6 for 75cl bottles.
From a New Yorker’s perspective, it is bewildering to see Delirium Tremens and Chimay sharing both a shelf and a price tag with Budweiser and Red Stripe. Whether Guillaume’s egalitarian approach is a daring business model or derived from a monk-like philosophy, or likely some combination of the two, the result is an awesome consumer experience, completely void of any cost deterrent.
Is the refined, award-winning Duvel from Belgium a superior beer to the sweet, scarcely known Dodo from La Reunion island? Of course it is. But that adorable, chilled bottle of Dodo beer hit the spot better than anything else I could have imagined on a recent summer evening, watching the sunset over Paris from my window in Montmartre.
Peoples Drug Store is open 7 days a week, from noon to midnight (and even later on the weekends). A limited selection of biodynamic wines and ciders are also sold.
78 rue des Martyrs, 75018 Paris
Métro: Pigalle, Abbesses or Anvers
Open: 7 /7 from noon-midnight (open until 2am Friday and Saturday nights)
- La Fine Mousse, another placeto sample craft beer in Paris
- Girls Guide To Paris meets the two young entrepreneurs bringing back Gallia brewery
- If you can’t get enough of beer, you can also visit La Cave à Bulles